“Let there be light!” That was the phrase that came with the creation of the world. And, of course, there was light. Since then, lighting has become one of the vital components of the design and perception of any space. No matter how you want to look at it, lighting can break or make any space.
Too much light can bring headaches and fatigue. Insufficient lights come with difficulty in concentration. So, if you are wondering why you are not getting optimal results at your workplace, attendance at your restaurants, or ambiance in your room, you should reassess your lighting choices.
Lighting can be a useful way to manage and manipulate the ambiance of any space. If done right, it can be the wow factor that will impress everyone. If not, however, it can affect the entire mood and pleasantness of any area.
We want to ensure the latter does not happen to you. This is why we have identified four common lighting mistakes we tend to make and viable solutions to each.
So, let’s find out how to light the way to a better place.
Problem #1 – Wrong Color Temperature
Color temperature is incredibly important to create the perfect atmosphere, enhance details, improve task performance, and affect our well-being. The first step in understanding how color temperature affects the ambiance and, more importantly, our well-being is to know what it is. So, let’s define Color Temperature.
Color temperature is a measurement of the appearance of color in reference to the light emitted by a black body radiator being heated. It is measured in Kelvin (K). The following are the three most common color temperatures used in a wide number of applications:
- Warm white (2700K)
- Neutral white (3000K)
- Cool white (4000K)
However, usually, color temperatures can go from 2200K up to 6000K, depending on the application. We have defined color temperature and identified the types. But the more important question is, how do we know the right color temperature needed?
For instance, commercial places such as restaurants or hotels are better off with warm white light, with a temperature range of 2400K and 3000K.
You will agree that light plays a very crucial role in spaces such as hotels and restaurants. The right place will make the entire place cozy, pleasant, and comforting. This specific range increases the sensitivity and enhances the dimension of spaces like hallways, art, rooms, etc.
Offices, on the other hand, will do well with a Neutral White Light with a temperature range of around 3500K. Lighting in an office space must be somewhere in-between well-lit and dimmable. This will ensure that both your clients and employees can have a friendly space to interact with.
You should also avoid very cold color temperatures above 5000K in office spaces because it increases the risk of headaches and decreased productivity. So, if you are serious about getting the best out of your workers, a range between 3000K to 4000K is your best bet.
Our eyes, and the entire body, can be really sensitive when it comes to light perception. And for this reason, we must ensure that we make the right choices to achieve a balance and optimize our commercial spaces.
Problem #2 – Excessive Lighting or Insufficient Lighting
When the word "more" crosses our minds, it is hardly about negativity. But sometimes less is more, especially when we talk about light.
To explain this concept, we must understand what lumens are. Lumen is the unit of how the intensity of light is measured. Lumen Output is a measure of the amount of visible light that is emitted by a power source. Different light sources such as LED, fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent have different wattage consumption and thus different lumen outputs.
It is imperative to take lumen output into consideration when talking about light since it affects the eyesight. Dull lights can cause headaches and fatigue, making it harder to focus. Not only that, a low lumen output in an office could potentially lead to a decline in motivation. Employees will become drowsy and weak. This is when efficiency plays an important role in achieving the most suitable lumen output. But the misconception here is that we just choose the light source without considering the lumen. And this, in turn, adversely affects our well-being.
According to a recent study by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), LED products have been found to reduce migraines when they emit green or blue light. For instance, people in offices may experience strong headaches if the space is not lit correctly. In this particular study, about 80 percent of the employees experienced migraines while working in a well-lit office. They also found that green light reduces that pain by approximately 20%.
LED lighting is beneficial over other light sources. It is more cost-effective. It is energy-saving and eliminates the risk of glares, flickers. There is zero health risk when you light up your space with LED lights.
Again, LED lights are the perfect solution to this problem. LED lights can achieve the same lumen output as low watt. It is safe, economical, and efficient. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to increasing productivity and protecting our health. Discover our lights here.
Problem #3 - Glare Control
This is where it gets very tricky. The glare control can singlehandedly distinguish a good lighting design from a bad one. That said, glare is not exactly a favorable lighting feature. This feature is something that is not necessarily good when we talk about lighting systems. Glare is synonymous with an extremely bright light and can cause discomfort.
LED lights are unidirectional, which means that light does not radiate in all directions. This property could potentially reduce glare to people outside the illuminated area. One way to reduce glare is to reduce the color temperature a space needs. It can be eliminated by using less than 2400K and a dimmer. The higher the temperature is, the more glare it produces; thus, reducing lumen output and intensity will directly reduce this unwanted effect. If that is not possible, we recommend using a diffuser, for instance, a honeycomb louver with many color variants and acrylics to effectively eliminate the unwanted glare. A standard temperature of 3000K reduces blue light, which is the leading cause of glares. Blue light, as we know, causes tiredness, headaches, and adverse long-term effects on eyesight. Blue light mainly comes from LED electronics and devices.
You should factor in glare when lighting any area. For instance, restaurants need to create an ambiance similar to the Mariachuchena project, where an Amber filter was used to eliminate glare and create a relaxing mood. Likewise, offices with glare or overly bright lights will adversely affect employees’ performance and productivity.
Everything is affected by lighting – directly or indirectly, including your mood, the ambiance, and even your health. So, it is important to make the right lighting choices.
Honeycomb louver filters are usually used in downlights and track heads for glare control.
Problem #4 - Poor CRI
Have you ever wondered why products look better in stores, or why food looks more appetizing in restaurants? What is the magic behind it? The answer is CRI—Color Rendering Index
CRI is based upon this system of colorimetry. It is based on a scale from 0 to 100 specifying how good a light product renders colors. The higher the CRI, the better the color rendering appearance. In other words, it helps human eyes see brilliant, visually attractive colors due to artificial lighting. A CRI of 85 to 90 is considered good at color rendering, and over 90 is excellent at color rendering; but still, this number varies a lot depending on the application.
Are you willing to invest in the right color saturation and visual appeal? If the answer to both questions is yes, we highly recommend considering a CRI higher than 90. Although a CRI of more than 90 is considered an excellent CRI, not everyone really needs it. Perfect applications include high-end restaurants and hotels, boutiques, hospitals, and so on.
A CRI higher than 80 is considered very good, true-color illumination. A decision to have CRI a bit lower than 90 might be considered if you have a tight budget or simply because your space doesn’t require excellent color rendering.
A CRI higher than 70 does not accurately represent colors and would be perfect for spaces where color doesn’t play any role, such as parking garages or warehouses. With an excellent CRI, your products and spaces look more attractive to the consumer's eyes.
You also need to check the quality of the LED chip. This material can make a big difference in how bright, stable, and how long-lasting the fixture is. Another important factor to consider is the CRI – Color Rendering Index. This is a measure of how realistic or natural a color look. A low CRI value may indicate that the colors appear unnatural. A CRI of close to 100 indicates the best color rendering. Learn more.
Light can transform any space - you can go from an ordinary to an enchanting space with the right lighting fixtures. It can create the perfect ambiance for a pleasant, peaceful space.
But just as lighting can make a place, it can break it and emphasize the aspects wrongly. Likewise, it can have telling effects on our health. This is why you must factor in lighting when planning for any project.
This post has highlighted some of the most common lighting mistakes and how to avoid them. We are confident that you now have all it takes to execute your lighting project excellently.
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At CodeLumen, we light to create!
 Submissions, Rene. “How To Determine How Many LED Lumens You'll Need To Properly Light Your Space.” ArchDaily, ArchDaily, 2 July 2018, www.archdaily.com/897277/how-to-determine-how-many-led-lumens-youll-need-to-properly-light-your-space.  “Lighting Migrains.” EnLIGHTenment, 31 Oct. 2016, enlightenmentmag.com/news/lighting-migraines-headaches-2.  “How to Reduce Glare by Using LED Lighting.” Relumination, 18 Dec. 2017, www.relumination.com/how-to-reduce-glare-by-using-led-lighting/.  Marissa. “4 Ways to Tell Quality LEDs from Cheap LEDs.” Sitler's LED Supplies, 11 June 2020, sitlersledsupplies.com/4-ways-tell-quality-led-cheap-led/.